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The details given here are to the best of our knowledge and understanding. Reference should be made to relevant regulations and statutes for the precise legal position.

Hereditaments are heritable properties (from the Latin hereditare – to cause to inherit.). The term is used in UK local taxation to refer to rateable units of property, although the concept has never been properly defined in statute law and its meaning has evolved through case law. In Community Charge and Council Tax legislation the definition of hereditament is that given in the General Rate Act of 1967. The Local Government Finance Act of 1988 brought in the community charge (better known as the "Poll Tax") and section 64 (1) of this Act defines hereditament as '...anything which, by virtue of the definition of hereditament in section 115(1) of the 1967 Act, would have been a hereditament for the purposes of that Act had this Act not been passed.' Section 115 (1) of the General Rate Act of 1967 states that  'hereditament means property which is or may become liable to a rate, being a unit of such property which is, or would fall to be, shown as a separate item in the valuation list,'. In rating law the concept of hereditament is connected to the concept of rateable occupation, which consists of occupying an hereditament so as to be liable for the payment of rates on the property.  The notion of rateable occupation was developed to establish  if the occupiers of properties  were liable to pay rates as a result of their occupation of them. In addition,  If rateable occupation is taken of part of an hereditament then this creates another hereditament out of the first  one. Thus parts of a building can be separate hereditaments and would be banded separately for council tax purposes or if non-domestic would be regarded as separate rateable units. In the case of LCC v Wilkins (VO) [1957] the court put together a number of previous cases and set out four necessary conditions for rateable occupation - ‘First, there must be actual occupation; secondly, that it must be exclusive for the particular purposes of the possessor; thirdly, that the possession must be of some value or benefit to the possessor; and fourthly, the possession must be for not too transient a period.’ Rateable hereditaments can include land and buildings constructed on land, machinery, plant, and chattels, as well as the effect of certain intangible or incorporeal rights associated with land. Non-domestic hereditaments are shown in rating lists irrespective  of whether they are occupied or unoccupied. Some properties are included in a central rating list and some may be exempt from non-domestic rating. Non-domestic premises are in general liable for business rates, apart from those that are exempt. There are also non-domestic hereditaments, which are those that consist entirely of non-domestic property or are composite hereditaments. With a composite hereditament, the rateable value is restricted to the value that can be reasonably attributable to its non-domestic use. The value of the dwelling for council tax purposes is that portion attributed to domestic use as defined by the Local Government Finance Act (1988) Section 66. (See the Council Tax (Situation & Valuation of Dwellings) Regulations SI 550/1992).











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Copyright (2007)